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Diwali is by far the most important festival celebrated in my home. It also has some lovely memories associated with it. My childhood memories are redolent with the fragrance of Diwali spent in my maternal grandfather’s home surrounded with uncles and aunts and cousins. I remember that we absolutely loved those icky black crackers, which turned into hissing snakes on being lighted much to the agony of our mothers. These ones left ugly black stains on the ground to our delight. We would get started with them right from the morning. And then there were those crazy guns which the boys loved to fire with pseudo bullets. They gave them the feeling of being a hero in a movie, I guess. The only other crackers that were burst were a few sparklers, flower pots, ground chakkars and a stray mirchi strip or two. While the adults lit the crackers, we kids would assemble and watch with wonder and delight.

Diwali was also synonymous with foodie treats. I remember my mother preparing sweets, namkeen, kachoris, puris etc. We used to dig those treats. No one stressed over extra calories back then, even the well-endowed adults of those days. The festival of lights also meant putting up beautiful light bulbs and a million oil lamps or diyas on Diwali night. It was a remarkable sight, as they flickered with tiny flames lighting the inky black night.

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As we dressed in ethnic clothes and did Diwali pooja after helping our elders in cleaning and decorating the in-house mandir (temple), the atmosphere was of cheer and fun. In the later years, we celebrated Diwali at our home and mom tried to match the fervor of those community Diwalis. I remember accompanying them to Diwali parties at other homes where cards were played until late at night. The kids were shooed away to play with other kids. Stuck with one Doordarshan channel and children we didn’t know too well, it used to get boring. All other festivities associated with Diwali continued to be the same.

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Then we moved to Bombay and Diwali transformed. The cleaning, food, and celebration was similar but more restricted to nuclear setups. There was a lot of gifting that happened and by the end of Diwali, dry fruits and mithais were a much-hated sight. I still remember that one particular friend always gifted chocolate walnut fudge from Lonavla on Diwali. It was yummylicious and we used to actually wait for him every year. What we also now witnessed were crazy cracker sprees that started more than a week before Diwali and sometimes went on late at nights. It was a huge nuisance, something we all have learned to live with out of compulsion. We had since long stopped bursting crackers.

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Now in Bangalore, I try to retain the spirit of Diwali. The house is cleaned thoroughly, lit with diyas though most years the diyas have to be lit inside the home. Outside it is too windy. The oil has been replaced by wax candles. The Lakshmi pooja is still done with gusto. We all dress up in pretty ethnic clothes and decorate the house. Of course, I make the kachoris and other delightful food, the effects of which can be seen in the form of paunches. But seriously, I enjoy celebrating Diwali. The nuisance of crackers is lesser here in Bangalore. At least, no one gets up at 1 am and starts bursting crackers. I also enjoy visiting the homes of friends to catch up and share the festivities. The card parties of childhood have long been lost and I am happier this way. If relatives are home, we may just play a few rounds for fun. And the best part is celebrating it with family. Sometimes, my father comes over. At other times we have the pleasure of my mil’s company during Diwali.

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How do you celebrate Diwali?
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41 Thoughts on “Diwali Over the Years!

  1. Truly festivals with family members are something which always manage to bring a smile to our faces..And the memories of how we celebrated when we were just children well there can be nothing compared to those days..This year we celebrated in our home for the first time… and it was fun…Loved decorating….Though I didn’t cook may things but it was fun…
    nabanita recently posted…Lovely Uncertainties..My Profile

  2. What I remember most about Bangalore Diwali is the bursting of crackers early in the morning. Also, the gifting culture was not as ostentatious as in Delhi.
    I had a good one, this year. Lovely pictures Rachna.

    • Yes, they do that but for a short duration. Absolutely true about the gifting culture. Everything is ostentatious up North. I am happy you had a great Diwali, Alka. Hope all at home are well.

  3. Rachna ,

    Fond memories of Diwali isnt ? I loved your phrase of paunch associated with diwali sweets 🙂

    Diwali is not celebrated in my native Kerala. But I got a shocker when I came to mumbai where people go crazy over shopping and stuffs when it comes to Diwali.. the whole cleaning spree, sweets making, crackers , rangoli..baap rey 🙂

    Belated Diwali wishes 🙂
    sangeetha menon recently posted…Home Made Dry Fruit Powder Mix for Toddlers and KidsMy Profile

    • Hehe No exaggeration about the paunches. Yep Diwali is a time of frenzied activity. Though I hate the going overboard with shopping bit. Thanks for reading!

  4. Diwali has been celebrated on much the same lines as you mentioned so beautifully, Rachna, perhaps due similarity of background:)Having lived in quite a few places, Diwali at each place was quite unique, ranging from quiet affairs to boisterous ones!

  5. Reminds me how what Diwali used to be in my childhood days. I was never a sucker for crackers, especially the noisy & smoky ones…still think it’s an absolute waste of money – burning currency when it could have been put to better use! And always felt sad for doggies & babies…crackers are just too loud for them 🙁

    What I loved about Diwali of those days is the exchange of yummy homemade sweets & savories, the delightful cheer in the neighbourhood, the beautifully lit diyas…and such else. Though now it’s more of the sweet shop stuff that we get, the sweet memories of our childhood celebrations still linger on!

    • Your memories are beautiful and very similar to mine. I hate noisy crackers as well. Luckily, the kids are getting more conscious as well due to awareness campaigns in schools. Long time! Hope all is well with you.

  6. That was a lovely account of the diwali .. I have been reminiscing the get- together we had while travelling and sighing that its over for this year…

  7. Enjoyed reading about your childhood memories of Diwali and what this festival means to you and your family! For me too, the festival has always meant cleaning up, decorating and lighting as many diyas and candles as I can get hold of 🙂 Fortunately for us here, the rain stopped in the afternoon so I could light some diyas outside. And this year I lit many ‘ghee’ diyas (usually I use only one or two ghee diyas and end up using oil for most of them.) Of course there were some store-bought sweets and special home-cooked Thai curry for lunch! But no crackers. Never really enjoyed those, except may be playing with a few sparklers as a child. Lovely pictures, Rachna.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…What Occupied My Mind: A Book about 12 WomenMy Profile

    • Yep I hate the noisy ones too, Beloo. My younger son lovee the sparklers and the flower pots but we buy very few. It rained in the evening on Diwali and hence very few crackers were burst.

  8. You rekindled some old memories Rachna ! I used to love the snake fire-cracker. Considering that most of the adults would be disgusted by it, it added to my pleasure 🙂 And the day after Diwali, me and my neighborhood gang would rummage for the crackers which hadn’t burst or the ones which still had something left in them and do experiments on them !
    Asha recently posted…Will to WillMy Profile

  9. Lovely memories Rachna! I too do not like card parties and thankfully they have never been very important in our house. 🙂
    Priya recently posted…Home remedies to build a child’s immunityMy Profile

  10. Card party is a must so as to let Lakshmi come in through the year.
    Diwali is amongst the most important festival.But,I lets look at those families where children ,now settled and are living in other cities/ country?
    B k chowla recently posted…TOLERANT HINDUSMy Profile

  11. Brings back many memories 🙂 I also wanted to write how our Diwalis graduated from different stages. This year, didn’t do anything. Diwali being the weekday, absolutely nothing..just some rangoli in the front porch and ravva laddu for the kids. I miss Diwali back home..
    Found In Folsom recently posted…Another Morning!My Profile

  12. The photos are wonderful!! I love the diya and flower arrangements! This year, we had a wonderful time decorating and entertaining but kept cooking to a minimum with only some home made laddoos as a special feature!
    I’m also glad that crackers are kept to a minimum in most cities nowadays!
    Roshni recently posted…Celebrating Diwali in AmericaMy Profile

    • Thank you, Roshni. I just love diyas and flowers. I put them everywhere. This year I got jasmine malas and marigold flowers. I loved putting gajra in my hair after ages much to the amusement of kids. Yes, it is good that cracker burning is coming down.
      Rachna recently posted…Diwali over the years!My Profile

  13. Jasmin flowers floating in water around candles…so pretty and I’m sure so frangrant! Nice to read about a festival of another culture – the curiosious child within smiles. I hope to one day witness it… 🙂
    iliana recently posted…What if ? – a cancer scare storyMy Profile

    • Oh yes, they are, Iliana. I love jasmine. Traditional women in India wear them in their hair spreading fragrance everywhere. In my paternal grandfather’s home, there were rows and rows of jasmine plants. All the kids used to pluck the buds carefully. Some of them were floated in glass bowls perfuming the room delectably. While others were made into a gajra or a flower arrangement for our mothers. It was such fun. I hope you can witness it in India some day as well. I would love to see you deck up in a saree. 🙂
      Rachna recently posted…Diwali over the years!My Profile

  14. Those pictures are sooooooooo beautiful.
    I celebrated Diwali this year at Home and boy it was amazing! I put on a few kilos too.:P
    RED HANDED recently posted…KARUTTAPPA…..My Profile

  15. Would you believe it, if I said I’ve never celebrated Diwali till I got married. Primarily because it’s never been a big deal at home. And my family didn’t really celebrate it either. To date, I’m not sure if it is celebrated in Kerala with as much pomp and splendour as the rest of India. But then J took me under her wing and we’ve been celebrating ever since we got married. I have to admit thought – I’m not a big fan of the crackers and the sounds and the wreckage and messy roads post the festival. Sparklers are okay. So are fireworks. Anyway, interesting post Rachna. I have seen and experienced the joy of people who celebrate Diwali at home. So I know the feeling. Lovely photographs too.
    Sid recently posted…Supercalifragi-what!My Profile

    • I can totally believe it, Sid. I think Diwali was primarily a North Indian festival. It is celebrated very differently down South. For us Diwali and Holi were the two main festivals that we celebrated with gusto mostly because it was time to get together with family. Yes I dislike the crackers too. They are mostly driven by children. I hope that we can cut down crackers to the minimum. Thanks for reading.

  16. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder on October 30, 2014 at 2:03 am said:

    Love the account of your Diwali Rachna… 🙂 ..the best part of festivity is that we spend it with our family …

  17. Families are what make Diwali such fun and it is little wonder there is such a mass exodus across cities with families travelling to reunite with their dear ones. I have similar Diwali memories of crackers, food and more food – ah those besan ke laddoo, chiwda and chaklis, rangoli making (or rather clumsy rangoli making), the time of the year when we cousins got together to have a ball and so many more things!

  18. Such a wonderful account Rachna .. we usually never have card parties but had it this time .. we played bluff !! Ended up in a laugh riot !!

  19. diwali is only festival i used to celebrate coz i was born on that day.its not about my bday,but the atmosphere of diwali makes me crazy.i used to get lots and lots of crackers and all the kids in my locality used to gather coz i used to burst crackers more than anyone.my elder sister used to make home made diyas from wheat atta 3 days before diwali. after my sister’s marriage and my dad got expired,i was 13 and brought many crackers for diwali as usual but when the night came in,i could not burst crackers or celebrate diwali coz the hapiness of celebrating together was missing.when you miss someone from past,it won’t be same diwali or happiness again. my last diwali was when i was in 8th grade and after that i never celebrated coz its all about completeness not about sweets or money or crackers.

  20. I have come here after a while, but as always such a pleasure to read this wonderful post. Lovely photos.

  21. Pingback: Suggestion Saturday: October 14, 2017 | Lydia Schoch

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